Opportunities in the crisis

There have been crises throughout the history of mankind and many people have suffered from the consequences of wars, natural catastrophes and disease over the centuries.

We are currently living with Covid-19 in an unprecedented situation. In order to protect health and lives of the population, public life was reduced to an absolute minimum and only now are the restrictions slowly being lifted. Many people are afraid of losing their jobs; the self-employed and employers are fighting to get customers and orders.

Which companies will survive this crisis best? Those who have put all their employees on short time working, shut down production, applied for state help and otherwise hope that things will return to normal as soon as possible?

Or those who are creative and explore new possibilities? Those who do not just wait but come up with new ideas, grab the telephone, roll up their sleeves and try something new?

Being creative and brave

Companies who manufactured patio roofs in the past now produce protective screens for shops and install them for their customers. A tie manufacturer gets an employee to design a pattern for face masks, thus enabling him to keep his staff on. Restaurants and shops have found ways of supplying their customers using take-away and delivery services, and if you are looking for something to do in the evenings, you can drive your car onto the market-place or into a field and watch a film in a drive-in cinema.

In many branches, business is booming. Disinfectants have to be produced, technology has to be developed and provided for those working or learning from home, and new ways have to be found to supply people with the things they need.

In spite of the huge challenges and difficulties the situation represents for many, we have a great opportunity to learn from this crisis. Deep-rooted behaviour patterns are being questioned and rethought from a completely different perspective.

The digitalisation of workplaces and schools has suddenly progressed faster than anyone would have thought possible before the crisis. Many people have discovered that it is not necessary to sit in endless traffic jams day in day out in order to get to their workplace in the city centre, nor do they have to fly miles around the globe to take part in conferences. Instead we are discovering the benefits of home office and video conferencing. In Addition, plans are being made to produce certain medicines and other important commodities in Europe, rather than relying on production in the Far East. This will create jobs here and reduce both long transport routes and dependence.

Are we willing to change?

Nature is taking a deep, cleaner breath at the moment and recovering from our increasingly harder and faster pace of life. Perhaps in the future we will consider whether it is really necessary to spend our holiday on a cruise ship on the other side of the globe or whether it would be better to create jobs at home by spending a relaxing holiday hiking or on a beach in a beautyful place nearby.

Many of us have been supporting local businesses in the crisis. Perhaps we will continue to do so in the future and buy more from the small shops around the corner, rather than ordering everything online without thinking about how far the article has travelled in order to reach us. Companies must also do their bit here and make sure their customers keep coming when the crisis is past so that these positive changes remain after Corona.

Every crisis has its winners and losers. Those who, through no fault of their own, count among the losers have to be helped by a strong community. Those who are creative and willing to try something new will be among the winners.

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